Have you ever heard of EVS? It stands for European Voluntary Service, a project that allows a person between 18 and 30 years of age to become a volunteer in literally any and every European country for up to 12 months (but you can also go for as little as 2 months, depending on the project and your flexibility).
During your time abroad you will be volunteering at a non-profit organisation. The areas of which can be whatever you imagine, from working with children or old people, to arts, museums, media, radio, environment, social issues etc. At the end of it you get an official EU document which you can add to your CV and it will showcase your activities in an official format. While EVS and that document are not well known in the UK, believe me mainland Europe will be aware of this.
Now you might be saying, i can´t afford to take off from work and go save the world somewhere. Well, you get money for it! Your travel, insurance, and flat are paid for, you get language tutoring, and also a monthly allowance. While the money is not enough to make you rich, in most places it will allow you to live off of it.
I did a short term EVS in Belgrade, Serbia and a long term EVS in Kalamata, Greece. I can honestly say going to Greece changed my life, whereas Serbia taught me more about myself. I met great people who i am still in contact with even 5 and 2 years later. I learned to be independent and trust myself, i got to meet very interesting people and see some great places. I highly recommend to everyone!
A great EVS trainer person i met in Athens posted an urgent call for people to go for a year to Faro in Portugal, 7 different projects in arts, youth, inclusion and sports. For more check out the following link: https://www.facebook.com/download/396937577040726/EVS_Call_SO_Volunteers_Faro_Portugal.pdf
But as said before, there are projects in all the European countries and even countries that border Europe, as long as either your sending organisation (in your home country) or your host organisation (in the country where you go to) are EU member states or accession countries. There is so much info on it online, first thing is to look up non-profit organisations in your area and contact them if they would be willing to act as a sending organisation. Together you can look over the project database online for approved host placements.
PS: even though it looks like it, i was seriously not paid by anyone to write this thing 😀